It did not take long for the MLB Hot Stove to begin to preheat. Today, on the first official day of the off-season, 3 trades were made, surprisingly none by Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto. But that doesn’t mean they were quiet.
The Seattle Mariners have hit the ground running as they continue to shave off some of the rough corners of their 40-man roster. On the 28th, the Mariners outrighted Connor Sadzeck, Ryon Healy, and Chasen Bradford all of whom cleared waivers.
But the following day, Healy, along with the previously unknown waived player Keon Broxton, refused the outright assignment to AAA Tacoma, instead opting to become minor league free agents. In addition, the Mariners lost Anthony Bass and Matt Wisler to waiver claims. When the dust settled, the Mariners 40-man roster had shrunk to 37.
After today, that roster now stands at 36 after the Mariners declined the $5 million option of fan-favorite and veteran left-handed pitcher, Wade LeBlanc. LeBlanc, who turned 35 in August, was one of the many feel-good stories behind the 2018 89-win squad.
Acquired late in spring training, LeBlanc was forced into the rotation thanks to a rash of injuries and provided the Mariners with 162 innings of quality baseball, posting a 4.11 FIP and a 2.1 bWAR. Seattle rewarded LeBlanc with an extension that guaranteed him a 2019 salary and a $450,000 buyout and had 3 consecutive, 1-year, $5 million options.
However, 2019 was not as kind to LeBlanc, who struggled through injuries and poor performance on his way to a 5.49 FIP and a 0.3 bWAR. The writing was on the wall late in 2019, when LeBlanc was removed from the rotation in favor of Tommy Milone and Justus Sheffield.
By declining the option, the Marines must pay LeBlanc his $450k buyout. LeBlanc will also become a free agent and will be free to sign with any club after November 4th. The possibility of a reunion remains, but at a significantly lower cost than the $5 million salary that would have been owed had the option been picked up.